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Car Crashes Involving Government Vehicles

Any time you are in a car, riding or driving along the roadway, you can be involved in a car crash and get injured. And even though the Utah Department of Public Safety Highway Safety Office says that Utah’s fatal car accident rate is lower than the national average, it can still happen to you! After a crash with another driver, you typically will want to file a claim with your own car insurance company to tap into your “personal injury protection” or PIP coverage so they can cover your medical bills up to $3,000 (in most circumstances).

For injuries stemming from crashes with most other drivers, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is four years from the date of the crash. But note carefully, if the other driver involved in the crash was a Utah government employee or a person working for a Utah government agency, the statute of limitations will only be one year following the wreck. Read on to learn more about the special circumstances that apply to car crashes involving government-owned and operated vehicles.

What are Government Vehicles?

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is responsible for maintaining Utah’s roadways. This can involve the use of vehicles like work trucks and snow plows.

During the winter, snow plows are used to clear the roadways. These large vehicles need to move slowly, which can slow down the flow of traffic. Like other large vehicles, snow plows need a greater length to come to a full stop after braking than cars and other passenger vehicles need – especially when there is ice and snow on the road. Crowding and improperly passing snow plows and other work vehicles can cause crashes. One recent example is the accident involving a snow plow and a semi-trailer in January 2017, described in an article published by Fox 13.

Who Insures Government Vehicles?

When a person’s injuries go beyond the “injury threshold” or result in more than $3,000 in damages, he or she may be able to collect damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the at-fault driver in your case was operating a government vehicle, he or she is insured by a policy that covers a group of government-owned vehicles. In order to get compensated after a crash with a government vehicle, you must file what is called a “Notice of Claim” with the State of Utah and the specific government agency, such as the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT).

What to Do if you are Involved in an Accident with a Government Vehicle

The Utah state government, like other state and local governments across the nation, has what is known as governmental immunity. In short, this means it can be quite difficult to file a successful injury claim against the government. If you plan to do so, you must file your claim within one year of your crash. Like a claim involving a private driver, you must submit evidence that shows the cause of your injury and the amount of the damages you are trying to get money for.

Work with an Experienced Utah Personal Injury Attorney

If you’re injured in a crash involving a Utah government vehicle, make sure you seek medical attention for your injury right away. This is the best way to help you get back to where you were – or as close as possible – as quickly and as smoothly as possible. Then, as you’re treating, contact one of the experienced personal injury lawyers at Kramer Law Group to schedule your FREE initial consultation in our office.

For more information on Utah car accidents, see out car accident page.